Walking in Love as Co-Heirs of the Kingdom
Jessica Jones 4 Minute Read
One of the greatest sources of conflict in the church during the past couple of decades is that of gender and equality. And that is terribly sad because the church is to be a place of unity, not one caught up in arguments and division.
So what must we do to navigate this topic, which affects everyone, in a way that honors God?
The first mention of men and women is in Genesis 1:26-27. Here, we discover that God created both men and women in His own image. This shows us that men and women are created equal. Neither men nor women can claim to be more useful, more significant or more like God than the other. Men and women complement each other in a way that reflects the wholeness and unity of God.
As we read further in Genesis, we find that God created men and women to be complementary partners working side by side as caretakers of His creation, called to serve together in unity.
But then came the Fall. And thus began the battle of the sexes, with men and women each believing themselves to be better than the other. All of history shows this conflict, flowing through every generation and every culture. This generational curse of conflict, power, and pride has wreaked havoc everywhere.
How can we, on this side of the Fall, can rise above the sinful nature that persists and follow God’s plan for men and women?
A common approach is to see gender roles as black and white, right and wrong. But sometimes that approach goes so far in drawing lines that one becomes biased against one sex or the other. We must look to the examples found in Scripture to understand God’s heart in this.
Take the example of Deborah, whose story is found in Judges 4:4-5. She was a political leader in Israel, working alongside men to direct the path of the nation and advising other leaders in the decision making process. She also functioned as a prophetess, which was ultimately a spiritual role in which she would have endeavored to influence the nation to follow after God, exhorting them to continue walking in obedience. Deborah did not lord her status over the men around her but faithfully served alongside them to lead the nation of Israel.
Another example is found in Proverbs 31, which gives us a portrait of a woman who was not only a homemaker, being a wife and mother, but also a wise investor and business owner. Her dedication to her family and her contributions to their wellbeing resulted in her husband gaining respect in their community. She diligently and faithfully served her family and community, supporting her husband in his work and winning him a good reputation.
These and other examples in Scripture show us how to work together for the Kingdom. Whether they find themselves in the public eye as political leaders, serving in their local churches, or caring for their families, all of us are called to walk in unity and humility. As Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (WEB).
Ultimately, regardless of one’s views on the roles of men and women in the church, we are to walk in love and humility, serving alongside each other as joint-heirs of Christ’s Kingdom. This is summed up well in Ephesians 5:1-2: “Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, even as Christ also loved us and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.”Let us walk in love, serving each other in the humility of Christ, and offering ourselves up as a fragrant sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God.